Harlem Torn About Expanding Bus-Only Lanes

extralargeHarlem is torn between the Department of Transportation’s plan to expand bus-only lanes on 125th Street west to Morningside Avenue.

Bus-only lanes on 125th Street currently run between Lenox and Second avenues. The DOT plans to expand them westward later this summer, a department spokesman said.

West Harlem City Councilman Mark Levine supported the expansion, citing faster bus times as a community benefit.

“If you ride the bus you kind of plod along in traffic if you are moving around the western half of the street — actually buses have been timed at 3.5 miles per hour which is slower than walking,” he said.

“When you get to Lenox Avenue things pick up because you have a bus-only lane. We want the same benefit a little bit farther out in our neck of the woods.”

According to a DOT study, bus-only lanes on the east side have sped up the M60 bus by more than 30 percent — from 18 minutes down to 12.

The DOT visited West and Central Harlem’s community boards this month to share its expansion plan.

During a transportation committee Tuesday Community Board 10 raised a number of concerns about the expansion including parking changes on 124th and 126th streets and the left turn restrictions on Lenox, Seventh and Eighth avenues.

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Henrietta Lyle, the chair of the board, said via email Friday that the board has no official position on the issue. She has previously criticized the DOT for forcing the service on the community.

On Thursday, West Harlem’s community board was ready to support the expansion plan but only as long as its Central Harlem counterparts did. The board’s transportation committee had drafted a letter of support.

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